LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Creating is good. Finishing is better. It’s the difference between shooting and scoring, and for Louisville City FC on Sunday night at Atlanta United 2, it was the difference between victory and defeat.
LouCity possessed the ball for nearly 70% of the second half and peppered Atlanta for a 19-3 shooting margin in the half, including 5-0 on goal.
But it doesn’t matter if the shots don’t find the back of the net. Atlanta got a first-half goal when right back Adam McFadden pressed forward toward the far post on a cross from Caleb Wiley and slipped it past Louisville keeper Chris Hubbard with a single touch — for his fifth goal of the season — in the 27th minute.
Atlanta wouldn’t put another shot on frame in the entire game. And it wouldn’t need to in a 1-0 victory that sends LouCity to its second straight defeat. Since losing to LouCity on April 24, Atlanta United 2 has gone unbeaten in five of six games.
Playing Sunday without striker Cameron Lancaster (sore hamstring) and star defender Jonathan Gomez (with Mexican National Team), LouCity had Kyle Greig making his first start and Brian Ownby returning from suspension. Napo Matsoso started in place of Gomez.
The problem for LouCity wasn’t quality or opportunity. A golden chance came from the penalty spot in the 81st minute when a hand ball was called in the box, but Niall McCabe’s try from the spot was blocked by Alec Kann, who also blocked McCabe’s shot off the rebound.
"I think we end up winning the game had that gone in," interim head coach Danny Cruz said of the penalty. "But again, these are chances we are continuing to miss. As you can tell, statistically we're having a ton of the ball and creating chances, but the last two weeks we're not winning games. . . . The score line is what matters. Chances are great, but if you’re not finishing them, then ultimately you put yourself in a position to lose the game. We need to be better in individual execution and collective execution, and that starts with me making sure we’re consistently working on it and progressing daily."
LouCity had the game’s best early chance when Corben Bone fed Antoine Hoppenot in the box, but his shot was blocked. Another chance came 60 minutes in when McCabe caught a loose ball in the box that was blocked, and Greig’s follow flew over the bar. Greig also had a shot blocked in the 83rd minute and in the first minute of stoppage time.
Of Louisville’s 23 shots, 19 came from inside the box.
"I feel we have a more than good enough team to continue to fight for a championship," Cruz said. "That's my goal here, and this a bump in the road. I have complete faith in the locker room that we're going to come back to Lynn Family (Stadium) next weekend and turn it around."
LouCity will return home Saturday to play in its new stadium in front of a 100 capacity crowd for the first time when Memphis 901 FC visits.
But the focus leading up to that game will be on giving those fans something to cheer about. LouCity has outshot its last two opponents by a count of 41 to 11, but has two losses to show for the effort.
"We’ve given up a handful of chances the last two games and given up three goals," LouCity center back Sean Totsch said. "We didn’t give away a penalty today, so that was a big key for us. But really, we had the chances and we expect to score. ... If we can eliminate the slower start, we’ll be in a much better position. ... We can’t say missing certain players (makes a difference). We had a lineup, anyone on the roster, whether its a brand, new academy kid or someone who has been here seven years, we expect them to set the standard and play at a high level. We can’t say we’re missing certain pieces, because honestly we expect to go out and perform every game. They had some young pieces too, and a new coach. There’s no excuses. We’ve just got to start better and finish our chances."
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